Demetrius Ward Just Wanted To Be Himself And Play His Game In His First Pro A Season With The Uni Baskets

Demetrius Ward is a 28 year old 188cm guard from Detroit, Michigan that played his seventh professional season and first with Pro A team uni Baskets Paderborn and averaged 9,1ppg, 4,4rpg and 5,6apg. He played his first six professional seasons with MTV Wolfenbuettel Herzoege (Germany-ProB) playing a total of 138 games. He played at Western Michigan from 2008-2012 playing a total of 129 NCAA games and as a senior played 31 games averaging 12.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 41.3%, 3PT: 31.5%, FT: 76.2%. Currently he is averaging 17,4ppg, 6,4rpg and 4,7apg. He spoke to at the end of the 2018-2019 season.

Thanks Demetrius for talking to Where are you at the moment and has the NCAA Madness helped keep your mind off not reaching the playoffs with the Uni Baskets Paderborn?

Hello Miles, I’m currently still in Paderborn. The NCAA tournament is really interesting this year. I’m going for Texas Tech to win it all.

After five Pro B season and one in the Regionalliga, you made your debut in the Pro A at age 28. One could say better late than never. After playing Pro B for so many years and never getting an opportunity in the Pro A, were you able to fully enjoy it and appreciate the opportunity despite the tough season? 

Yes I was able to enjoy the opportunity this season. It was a blessing after so many years finally getting the chance to prove myself in the Pro A. I really enjoyed the live streams of the games. After 6 years in Germany my mom could finally watch a game.

With what kind of expectations with your game did you go into the Pro A? Talk about your experiences on the court and what were the biggest differences between the Pro A and Pro B? 

I wanted to be myself and just play my game. The experiences I had were pretty good, our home crowd was unbelievable. I would say the differences from the Pro B to the Pro A is there are more referees and more imports on the court at one time.

It wasn’t a very good season for the Uni Baskets Paderborn. Did the 77-64 win against FC Schalke ease the woes of the season a bit? At least you closed out the season on a winning note.

Winning the last game was so important for us. It was Uli’s last game coaching after 5 seasons. We wanted to go out and win for him he deserves it.

There was a short span at the end of January where the club won two of three games against Trier and Hanau. But then the club went on a seven game losing streak. What do you feel went wrong in that time?

It was also one quarter where we didn’t play our brand of basketball. We had a lot of mental breakdowns and wasn’t able to recover from it.

A big problem this season for the Uni Baskets was the inability to get stops. The team gave up 84 points per game. Playing good hard defense has to do with passion and effort. What were the biggest problems this season in not being able to defend better?

Playing hard defense does has to do with passion and effort and it also has to do with being focused. Many times I think we would lose focus and let people get easy buckets. Or we turn the ball over and they score this way. I think we wasn’t focused for 40 minutes.

Do you feel like the club was able to take some kind of positives out of the season? Will the win in Rostock and sweeping playoff team Trier be some of the more memorable moments?

Yes I think there is always something to take positive from a season no matter the outcome. I think this season we were able to stay in the league. The Trier sweep was also positive for us.

Let’s talk about your teammates. How did it feel playing among so many rookies like Matt Klinewski, Darnell Foreman and Grant Benzinger. Did you at times feel a little old? Did you have a special kind of extra role with your experience?

It felt a little different, last year I had only one rookie this year 3. I did feel old at times during some of our conversations. It was good to have them around, I experienced a good time with the guys on and off the court.

What kind of an impact did Darnell Foreman have on the club. He came in late but put up great stats. Could the season have gone differently had he been there from the start?

Darnell is very competitive and he brought it every day. The season could’ve went different if he was there from the start but nobody really knows.

How did you see the development of Connor Wood. He had a solid rookie season. Do you think that he could play at an even higher level than the German Pro A?

Coming in we all knew that Connor could shoot the ball. We didn’t know how athletic he was and that he could play defense. His development over the season was good, he didn’t only shoot the ball but he was one of our best defenders. I think he could play at a higher level than the Pro A if giving a chance.

Another guy that had a very solid rookie season was Grant Benzinger. How bitter was it seeing him go down for the season prior to the seven game losing streak? What did you appreciate mostly about his game and did he tell any stories about his baseball dad?

Before Grant’s injury he was leading the team in points and rebounds. He was off to a good season. It sucks seeing I’m go down with an ACL injury. He always worked hard and was always in the gym getting in extra shots. He never told me any stories about his dad but I did meet him when he came to visit. He’s a cool guy.

What kind of experience was it battling Darnell Foreman on a daily basis. Do you think that that kind of mentor student relationship developed or was there more of that competitive nature there?

It was a fun experience, we both are very competitive and don’t like to lose. We both talk a lot of trash during practice so it got pretty intense.

What kind of an experience was it playing for German coach Uli Nachster? You have played for other German coaches. What was something that you could take from him that you hadn’t seen from other coaches that you have witnessed in Germany?

I would say that coach was very patient with us. He didn’t yell or scream much but you understood when he was mad. I had a great experience with coach Uli, he gave me the chance to play in the Pro A. He believed in me from day 1.

Let’s talk about your game. You averaged 9,0ppg, 4,3rpg and 5,6apg How content were you with your debut season in the Pro A?

I like winning more than stats. The season could’ve went a lot better. The personal achievement for me was I was able to play all 30 games without any injuries. My numbers weren’t the greatest but it shows I’m an all around player

What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make coming from the Pro B? You shot only at 22% from outside. Did the faster pace of the game make it more difficult to shoot the three or was it other factors?

It was a mental things for me shooting 22% from 3 this season. 

You played 7-8 minutes less than what you usually did in the Pro B? Was it difficult at first getting used to playing less minutes and still be effective in the minutes you got?

It was difficult getting used to playing these minutes but I made the best of the opportunity.

You averaged only about half the points 9,0 per game than what you did the last years in the Pro B. With so many scoring options did you have more of that playmaking role than in previous seasons?

Scoring wasn’t my role for the team, I didn’t need to go out and score this season. 

A big issue we have had in previous interviews was your goal of not taking too many shots or taking a hundred dribbles. How did that part of your game continue to develop in the Pro A?

I didn’t take many dribbles and you could see that in my assist to turnover ratio. I want to be efficient without the unnecessary dribbles and taking so many shots. 

You averaged nearly 6 assists in the Pro A which proved that you can be that good playmaker at the Pro A level. How did your playmaking improve in the Pro A and with the harder competition do you feel like you also are a better passer?

I think I’m a good passer, I like to share the ball. I think my passing improved on watching a lot of film and learning from my mistakes the past season.

Are you in your prime? You had a solid Pro A season? Do you feel like other Pro A teams took notice? Are you confident that you will get another chance in the Pro A?

I’m in my prime for sure. I think I will get another chance in the Pro A. I didn’t have the best season but I didn’t have that bad of a season. I think some teams noticed me. 

What was your season highlight? Possibly your 15/6/7 game in the win over Tuesbingen?

I would say the game against Baunach were I didn’t score a field goal but had 14ast and we won.

On what things will you be working on most this summer as you prepare for next season? After playing your first Pro A season do you feel like you will be working on other things than usual to get you ready for a higher level than the Pro B?

I will work on my body and nutrients, that will be my main focus this summer.

What is the next step for you? I can imagine that you will stay in Germany. Or would that challenge of seeing a new culture and style of basketball in another country be appealing to you? 

I will apply for the German passport and would like to continue playing in Germany.

Please name your five all-time best teammates in college and pro’s

Keith Appling, Deon Dismuke, Khalil Kelly, David Kool, Donald Lawson

It’s still so early, but when all is said and done could Luka Doncic be one of the greatest Europeans that ever played in the NBA? 

Yes I think he will be one of the best .

What was your reaction when you heard that Lebron James named himself the greatest of all-time? 

I think he deserves it 

Charles Barkley recently proclaimed that Tom Brady Is more of a GOAT than Michael Jordan. Do you share his opinion?

I don’t believe in anything Charles says 

What was the last movie that you saw? 

Girl with the dragon tattoo 

Thanks Demetrius for the chat.

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